Johanna Konta and Heather Watson were both in third round action at the Aegon International in Eastbourne on a hectic, Thursday. Over on Court 4, Watson secured back-to-back top 20 wins with a 6-4 6-3 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Konta was on Centre Court against the French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko – this was a match I couldn’t miss!
Konta started slowly with Ostapenko quickly jumping out to a 2-0 lead. The Brit got back on level terms at 3-3 as she started to adjust to Ostapenko’s serve. There wasn’t much to separate the pair in the opener with Konta saving a break point serving at *4-4 with a big serve when it was really needed. After another decent hold of serve, Konta made her march and quickly chalked up three break points thanks to a devastating backhand return winner that she took so, so early. Ostapenko saved two break points, one with a second serve ace, but Konta forced the error to win the first set, 7-5.
I went back to the media centre at this point to process some photos – truth be told, I thought Ostapenko might buckle after the close first set but quite the contrary as, in a blaze of stunning returns, the Roland Garros champ claimed the second set.
I came back to Centre for the deciding set. There weren’t a great deal of rallies but it was intense and exciting as it was really not clear who was going to take this. Konta got the first break to lead 2-1, but Ostapenko soon turned the set on its head with three straight games. With an opportunity to draw one game away from the win, Ostapenko was broken to love. Konta then managed to level up the third set at 4-4 with Ostapenko missing four returns as she dropped her racquet at the end of the game in disgust.
Konta then broke in the next game, thanks to a series of heavy and deep returns. Serving for the set, the Brit managed to prevail in a four deuce game and on her third match point, saving a break point in the process. Ostapenko missed a lot of returns in that final game as Konta won, 7-5 3-6 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes. The crowd were a little sleepy at times but the intense finish seemed to wake them up! It was a noteworthy win for Konta who snapped Ostapenko’s eight match winning streak and six match winning streak in three set matches.
So Konta and Watson progressed to the quarter-finals, which both finished at roughly the same time!
Konta was out on Centre Court again where she eventually sealed the biggest win of her career by ranking, knocking out the world number one, Angelique Kerber, 6-3 6-4. The match ended in DRAMATIC fashion as Konta, on her third match point, took an almighty slip and tumble and hit her back and head on the grass. I was watching in the media centre – i’ve linked the replay below as it seems Jo is OK but please be aware, it’s pretty terrifying to watch back.
Caroline Wozniacki had just finished press and was watching all the action unfold with the journalists and photographers in the media centre.
After a good five to eight minutes on the ground, Konta managed to get up and actually win the match! WTA Highlights of the match are linked below.
Such drama, but i’m so glad that Jo seems to be OK. She didn’t come into press but there were some quotes from her and all sounds good.
Over on Court 1, Watson had another superb victory as she edged Barbora Strycova in three sets, finishing with a stunning passing shot winner to take it, 6-1 1-6 6-4. Barbora was out of there pretty quick! Quite the week for Watson who has beaten Lesia Tsurenko, Dominika Cibulkova, Pavlyuchenkova and Strycova! This is her second semi-final of the year following Surbiton ($100k) a few weeks ago, her first WTA semi-final since Monterrey last year, and her biggest semi-final since reaching the same stage of Eastbourne three years ago.
What a day for the Brits!